Above image called world famous waitress lindholm’s diner seen here

When you’re on the road, close to home or far away, there is nothing so inviting as a roadside coffee shop. It promises refreshment of the body, a chance to relax, and maybe the warmth and wisdom of a great waitress. Or at least it used to.

This is known as the wichstand, one of the coolest little sandwich and coffee places ever made. Image from Space Age City.

It’s in the LA area, which gave birth to an exuberant, goofy, space-age style of architecture for coffee shops (as well as motels. gas stations, etc) that has come to be known as GOOGIE, after a 1949 restaurant called Googie’s on Sunset Boulevard (designed by John Lautner), which seems to be long gone. But lots of GOOGIES survive.

Chips is another LA coffeeshop/diner. I would go there now, if I could. Image from here

A recent daytime shot of the wichstand, now known as Simply Wholesome, also from you are here.

Pann’s another terrific Googie, still around, in LA.

Pann’s above,outside and in, both pics from here. Article from 2008 on LA Googies in the LA Times in found here.

But the hay day of the space age, coffee shop wise, was the 1950’s and early 1960’s

A photo from the ’50’s of Hody’s in LA , image from Space Age City

Inside at Lendy’s (before the coffee was brewed and the doors opened), also Space Age City

The Parasol, pretty in pink (I’ll bet they have great strawberry milkshakes), yes at Space Age City

Judging from the cars, Herberts seems to go back further than the Fifties, but maybe it was “my Dad’s first car” night. From Atomic Ranch

Rendering by the architects Armet and Davis, and copyright 2003 the firm of Amret, Davis and Newlove, AIA found at Googie Art.

Blount’s, specializing in good old Chicken Steaks. From Space Age City

Space Age City, source of most images above, tells us: The elements of Googie are up-swept roofs, large concrete domes, exposed steel beams and starburst, amoebae or boomerang shapes. This futuristic architecture was associated with the Southern Californian car culture, the space age and the optimistic views of the post-war generation. Googie went out of fashion in the mid-Sixties. Visit Space Age City, for more

A man named Alan Hess has produced 2 nice books about the Googies.

Some have noted that the Googie style is pretty much what author William Gibson meant by the term Raygun Gothic. Mr Gibson, who we proudly call a Canadian no matter where he was born, pretty much always gets it right.

But much as we love our coffee (and pie) when you are on the road, you need other things too, like gasoline.

This would be the place to gas up your gas guzzler all right, especially if it had big tail fins and a strato-flow transmission. Located in Beverly Hills, it was intended, originally, for a spot near LA Airport.

Orbit Gas Station. Probably offers rocket fuel. Above two seen here

Mountain googie offerring mountain gas. Once upon a time. Her

But before there was a Googie’s on Sunset Boulevard, North America already had lots of roadside eateries with eye appeal. Consider these:

Published in Popular Mechanics and posted at Modern Mechanix

And all the way back in 1930, there was Big Duck Store in Flanders, New York:

So the Googies aren’t really all that wild after all. If you’ve got good coffee and pie (or chicken feed and barbed wire) you need to get your customer’s attention so they’ll stop and come in and try your wares. What better than a big duck ( above found here) or a sign shaped like a satellite?

Maybe a hand-made, see through version of the Tower of Pisa on TOP of your little family restaurant. This is Frankie Tomatto’s Italian Restaurant Markham, ON, from here

More unusual Roadside architecture and other attractions from here

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